As iconic women’s group marks its centennial, it’s not standing pat in a fast-changing Jewish world. But can it lure enough young blood?
The birthday girl is turning 100 this year, and she says she’s feeling just fine, thank you. She’s still raising tons of money, has a membership role that continues to grow and is still improving health care in Israel through its world-class hospital.
But this is not your grandmother’s Jewish community anymore. And the jury is out on whether Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, which marks its centennial this year, can be relevant to young Jewish women in a fast-moving world.
Hadassah, the women’s Zionist organization, has had its share of negative attention of late. A major victim of the Madoff Ponzi scheme, it continues to face financial challenges, and a top executive recently accused several lay leaders of improper use of funds.
But as the largest Jewish organization in America prepares to celebrate its centennial, it’s important to step back and look at the remarkable accomplishments over the last 10 decades of a group 300,000 members strong.
Top officials, in their first interviews, say charges of financial improprieties ‘personally devastating.’
The president and immediate past president of Hadassah have been accused of financial improprieties by their suspended chief operating officer, a charge the women describe as “very painful” in light of all the money and volunteer time they have given the organization.